The human cost of high house prices

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 October, 2011, 12:00am


Thanks to 'unattainable' home prices and a 'toothless government', Ronny Ching Wing-lok, a 28-year-old salesman who wishes to marry his girlfriend, says he does not have much hope of moving out of his subdivided home and affording a bigger, warmer home any time soon.

Ching is not a low achiever. He graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a business degree, and makes about HK$22,000 a month selling IT equipment.

Yet since he moved out of his parents' home four years ago, he said, he had been living in subdivided flats in Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan because they were all he could afford.

The rent of his current flat is about HK$4,000 per month.

'I just don't get it - how do people actually save up for a property?' he said. 'I don't splash out on things I don't need, and after all the necessary costs only about HK$8,000 of my salary is left every month. That's more than a third of my monthly income, but is nothing meaningful in the property market.'

The fact that daily expenses - including transport, meals and various bills - are rising does not help him move any closer to owning.

'It's going to take an awfully long time to put together even a modest [purchase] down payment of about HK$800,000,' he said.

He hopes Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen will announce a resumption of the suspended Home Ownership Scheme. Ching said he would seriously consider buying a subsidised flat under the HOS if it were brought back in the policy address next week.

'Now many people don't have much hope of having their own home. A good number of my friends still live with their parents, and don't see a way out of this situation. What's bad about it is that the anxiety of being seen as incompetent or over-dependent grows every day.'